Wheelchair Tennis: 12 Facts for London 201204.06.2012
Wheelchair Tennis is a fast and dynamic sport requiring strength and lots of stamina. Doubles players must play in perfect harmony as a team.
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"The sport is now fully integrated in the Grand Slam Tennis events, and is practiced in more than 100 countries."
Here are 12 things you should know about the sport.
1. Who? What? Where? When?
112 athletes will take part in six medal events (men’s and women’s Singles, Quad Singles, men’s and women’s Doubles and Quad Doubles) at Eton Manor from 1-8 September.
2. Match format
Singles and doubles matches are the best of three sets.
3. Competition format
The London 2012 tournament will follow a knockout format, with the winners of the semi-finals in each event going head-to-head for gold.
The Wheelchair Tennis venue, Eton Manor, is the first ever Paralympic-only venue to be built at a Games.
5. Ones to watch
The Netherlands’ Esther Vergeer has been unbeaten in any singles match since 2003, but her teammate Aniek van Koot should not be overlooked, and could eventually be the player to dethrone Vergeer. Both are ones to watch for London 2012.
Brad Parks, a man recovering from a skiing accident, invented the sport in the USA in 1976 when he first hit a tennis ball from a wheelchair and realized the potential of this new sport. It appeared at the Paralympics for the first time at the Barcelona 1992 Paralympics.
7. Growing popularity
The sport is now fully integrated in the Grand Slam Tennis events, and is practiced in more than 100 countries.
8. International Tour
The NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour started in 1992 with 11 international tournaments and now has over 170 events around the world.
9. Bounce bounce
The game follows able-bodied rules with one exception: the ball is allowed to bounce twice, and only the first bounce must be within the boundaries of the court.
10. Regular court
Wheelchair Tennis integrates very easily with the able-bodied game because it is played on a regular tennis court with no modification to the racket, balls or court size. The singles court is 23.77m long and 8.23m wide, and the doubles court is wider at 10.97m. The court is divided in half by a net, which is 91cm high.
To compete, athletes must have a permanent and substantial loss of function in one or both legs. Quad players have an impairment that affects three or more limbs. Men and women compete together in the Quad events.
12. Governing Body
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) is the governing body of the sport.